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Pay bump - Nursing home rate increased to $300 per day

LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners voted 3-0 to increase the Belknap County Nursing Home private pay rate to $300 a day when they met Wednesday morning.
The $10 a day increase is the first private pay rate increase since Jan. 15, 2015, when it was increased from $250 to $290.
Only 12 of the nursing home's 94 residents are in the private pay category according to Nursing Home Administrator Shelley Richardson. County Commission Chairman David DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) said that the increase will mean $43,800 a year in additional income for the nursing home.
It increases the monthly rate to $9,000, which is about $110,000 a year, and puts the county facility at the same rate of $300 per day as the Laconia Rehabilitation Center on Blueberry Lane in Laconia.
Figures provided by Richardson show that the Saint Francis Rehab and Nursing Center in Laconia has a rate of $315 per day, Golden View Health Care Center in Meredith has a $335 per day rate and in Franklin, the Mountain Ridge Center has a rate of $276 for a private room and $290 for a private suite.
DeVoy said that his calculations show that the average cost per patient is over $300 per day and Richardson said it is around $306 per day. DeVoy asked her if the $300 a day which was being recommended was enough and asked her to report at the next meeting of the commission on what the actual per day costs are.
The commission approved changes in the contract of registry nurses and nursing assistants at the county home who will be required to work at least 40 hours per month, including one weekend per month and one major holiday during the year. Nurses and nursing assistants who are on the registry are part-time workers who are paid between $16 and $30 per hour and are eligible for overtime but not for any benefits such as insurance, sick time or vacation time.
Commissioners heard a report from Dona Hepp, chairman of the board of supervisors of the Belknap County Conservation District, and Lisa Morin, the district's sole employee, on the district's community outreach and assistance program, which included rehabilitation of a wetlands walk at Gunstock Mountain Resort and stream bank restoration projects in Gilford and Laconia.

David Bartlett named interim principal at Laconia HS


LACONIA — After serving as assistant principal at Laconia High School since 2013, David Bartlett has been appointed interim principal for the 2016-2017 school year.

Bartlett will fill the vacancy opened by the abrupt departure of Jim McCollum, who resigned in June become interim principal of Rundlett Middle School in Concord.

A native of Warner, Bartlett earned his bachelor's degree in communication from the University of New Hampshire and his master's degree in education from Plymouth State University. After working in information technology he has spent the last 13 years in the public school system, starting in 2002 at Laconia High School, where he was an alternative education teacher while managing the study hall program. Three years later, Bartlett went to work in the Gilford School District, teaching special education students for three years and eighth-grade mathematics for four years.

Bartlett said that altogether he has had six years of experience teaching alternative and special education students.

"This is a very rewarding group of students to work with," he said.

When Bartlett returned to Laconia High School as assistant principal he played a major role in introducing the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, or PBIS, program. PBIS rests on the notion that appropriate behavior can be taught just like core subjects of the academic curriculum by setting positive expectations for students rather than telling them what not to do. The program aims to maximize the time students spend learning by reducing the number referrals to the office for inappropriate behavior, which take both the student and the teacher out of the classroom.

Bartlett stressed that the behavioral and academic elements complement and reinforce one another, explaining that appropriate behavior and regular attendance enable students to access and master the academic curriculum. He also designed and managed the master schedule, worked with the Strategic Planning Committee of the School Board and led the Child Study Team.

As interim principal, Bartlett said that he intends to continue the initiatives already underway, particularly the PBIS program and curriculum development.

"This is a wonderful school and a great opportunity," he said. "We're not going to be changing the things that are most important to this school."

Bartlett will be leading a new administrative team at the high school. Angel Burke of Bow High School has been appointed as academic coordinator, replacing Steve Tucker, who left to become director of curriculum at the Gilford School District. Brian Berkowitz a veteran of Laconia High School, has replaced Amy Hinds, who has been named assistant superintendent of the Laconia School District, as coordinator of student services. In addition, Bartlett said that the process of hiring an assistant principal to succeed him is nearing its conclusion.

Bartlett discounted the challenge of changes in leadership, welcoming what he called "a great opportunity."

David Bartlett

David Bartlett

Superintendent Beitler takes helm at Gilford School District


GILFORD — School District Superintendent's Kirk Beitler's first few days have been filled with meeting district staff, visiting the three buildings on the campus, and settling in to his new position.

Beitler, the former assistant superintendent in the Laconia School District, said he is anticipating a busy summer as he familiarizes himself with his district and oversees the mechanical renovation project at the Elementary School.

"Today I met with some elementary students who are at 'camp' at the high school," he said, noting that because of the elementary school construction, the annual school-sponsored summer camp is centered at the high school this year.

Beitler said he has spent his first three days most scheduling meetings with building principals and staff. He also gave a reading at the Historical Society's recent Fourth of July program where there was a performance of the Gilford Community Band.

He said next on his list is setting appointments with the town of Gilford department heads, which he hopes to do next week. He said he plans on attending an upcoming meeting of the Board of Selectman which he will schedule with the town administrator.

"There are great schools here and I am really excited," Beitler said Thursday.

07-08 Kirk Beitler

New Gilford School District Superintendent Kirk Beitler stands in front of the SAU Offices in Gilford Village. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)